Outriders: Worldslayer Review – Skip the Story, Play the Game

Outriders' expansion has a boring story, but playing through it is a blast.

Posted By | On 05th, Jul. 2022

Outriders: Worldslayer Review – Skip the Story, Play the Game

Outriders gets a bad rap. It suffered from a rocky launch last year, there were game-breaking bugs that destroyed players’ progress, and most importantly, it was just a strange game with an interesting story and fun world building, but terrible writing and voice acting. Despite all of these setbacks, however, it was actually a decent looter-shooter. Like our own original review says, Outriders had great gameplay, and really interesting systems that encouraged experimentation with loot and builds. And now we have an expansion: Worldslayer.

For any loot-centric game, all an expansion really has to do is offer more loot, and maybe some new, fun ways to get the new loot. Worldslayer goes about accomplishing these goals in a really inconsistent way. There’s new loot, and it’s great. But the new activity—that’s right, singular—is… okay. Since loot’s the single most important (and best) thing Outriders has going for it, we’ll get a couple of other subjects out of the way first.

outriders worldslayer

"For any loot-centric game, all an expansion really has to do is offer more loot, and maybe some new, fun ways to get the new loot. Worldslayer goes about accomplishing these goals in a really inconsistent way. There’s new loot, and it’s great. But the new activity—that’s right, singular—is… okay."

Let’s talk about storytelling. There are a lot of ways storytelling can be accomplished. Minimalistic storytelling, like Dark Souls, relies on only giving players a story if they’re interested. More maximalist approaches to storytelling, like any Hideo Kojima or Naughty Dog games, leave little to the imagination and make sure that you properly understand what’s happening on the screen. Outriders, like most games, has always sat squarely in between these approaches, and Worldslayer is no different.

Worldslayer’s story is bad. It’s really, really bad. It’s short (not necessarily what makes it bad), the primary antagonist gets no time to actually be a character, and key plot elements and characters pop out of nowhere to provide the ideal solution to the heroes’ problems. It’s almost a Deus Ex Machina. Almost.

But the backstory has a lot of potential. It’s way more interesting to learn about some of the new locations you explore and characters you meet through collectibles, filling out your codex as you go along. Enoch has always been an interesting setting, right from the base game, but everything that actively happens to you as you play through the story is still really bad. The storytelling makes you, at best, apathetic to the situation, and at worst, actively dislike just about everyone you’re supposed to be rooting for.

Just about every character in Outriders: Worldslayer, is really edgy for some reason. It actively comes off as an awkward attempt at looking cool, but none of them ever really crosses the line over into being endearing. Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin has edgy characters, but that game did it in an endearing way. Outriders: Worldslayer is just too cool to care about minor things like having likable protagonists. The pacing is all over the place too, with no real quiet moments to drive home the impact of some of the bigger plot points or set pieces.

outriders worldslayer

"Worldslayer’s story is bad. It’s really, really bad. It’s short (not necessarily what makes it bad), the primary antagonist gets no time to actually be a character, and key plot elements and characters pop out of nowhere to provide the ideal solution to the heroes’ problems."

The antagonist of Worldslayer, Ereshkigal, had the potential to be an interesting character. She’s supposed to be one of, if not the first Altered on Enoch, after all. A showdown between your Outrider and Ereshkigal was bound to be interesting. Sadly, the short run time of Worldslayer’s story doesn’t really let Ereshkigal develop into anything more than a loot pinata with a health bar. None of her actions were foreshadowed in the base game, and nothing that happens around her in Worldslayer has any real impact.

Make no mistake, Outriders: Worldslayer is not a good game to play if you value story. Sure, its world building is great, and Enoch could potentially make for a wonderful setting for a franchise. But otherwise, it’s a substandard story told poorly with unpleasant characters, a boring villain, and terrible pacing.

In terms of gameplay, Worldslayer’s campaign doesn’t really introduce any new concepts, aside from its final mission—which we’ll get to because it also basically acts as the new endgame activity. Sadly, the Worldslayer campaign also doubles down on the worst aspects of Outriders’ campaign in general. The bullet-sponginess gets out of hand.

This, of course, is exacerbated by the new Apocalypse Tier system—basically an extension of the World Tier difficulty system from the base game, just with bigger numbers. Playing solo for this review meant that I often found myself ping-ponging between higher Apocalypse Tiers—so I can get relevant loot—and lower Apocalypse Tiers—so that I don’t pull my hair out from frustration at the bullet sponge boss fights. In co-op, Outriders’ bullet sponginess actually ends up being good fun, but in solo play, it has the tendency to get really annoying, really quickly, especially when you haven’t yet optimized your build for the highest damage.

Outriders Worldslayer_05

"It’s not all doom and gloom, however, and Worldslayer also amplifies some of the best things about Outriders as a whole."

It’s not all doom and gloom, however, and Worldslayer also amplifies some of the best things about Outriders as a whole. Worldslayer resets the loot game for maxed out Outriders by just introducing a new tier of loot. Dubbed Apocalypse gear, the new item tier comes with a third mod slot, providing a lot more opportunities for min-maxing. And that’s really the theme with Outriders: Worldslayer. It’s a min-maxer’s dream. The ideal shooter for optimisers. The sheer number of options that result in fun, interesting builds has been turned up to eleven.

The new Ascension levels system—basically like the Paragon level system in Diablo 3—allows players to level up and add minor stat bonuses to their characters. The new PAX level system gives a whole new level of freedom for creating builds, allowing either further specialization down a specific path, or providing more options for hybrid builds. And the best part is that all of these new systems can be freely reset, encouraging experimentation for new builds.

Outriders: Worldslayer remains a really fun game to play, especially with its new endgame activity: The Trial of Taya Gratar. Acting as a pseudo-roguelite, the Trial of Taya Gratar offers branching paths to specific rooms with randomized enemies that can drop loot. Interestingly, paths with specific loot drops are marked on the map, making the loot grinding quite fun. Looking for a new helmet? The room is clearly marked on the map, and going there repeatedly will drop a lot of helmets. Looking for a new sidearm? Same deal; go to the marked room and kill things repeatedly.

Outriders Worldslayer_04

"Outriders: Worldslayer ultimately provides players with more Outriders. More of the boring story full of potential, more terribly-written dialogue, but also, more great systems to play around with, more possibilities for interesting builds and big damage numbers. And most importantly of all, more loot!"

The Trial of Taya Gratar is quite fun, but sadly, it’s also quite repetitive. While Expeditions in the base game weren’t that much better, the variety in levels was definitely leagues ahead of what the Trial of Taya Gratar offers. I personally would have also liked to see the hunts and bounties from the base game return in some form, but sadly there isn’t really much to do in the new Worldslayer zones once you’ve finished the story and unlocked the Trial of Taya Gratar.

Outriders: Worldslayer may have one of the most boring campaigns out of any other loot-centric game out there, but ultimately, it doesn’t matter. For better or for worse, Outriders: Worldslayer ultimately provides players with more Outriders. More of the boring story full of potential, more terribly-written dialogue, but also, more great systems to play around with, more possibilities for interesting builds and big damage numbers. And most importantly of all, more loot! Outriders: Worldslayer is the true pinnacle of the adage: skip the story, play the game. And for some people, that’s more than enough.

This game was reviewed on PC.


THE GOOD

Diverse build options; Great additions to loot system; Trial of Taya Gratar has potential; Top-notch gunplay.

THE BAD

Terrible story.

Final Verdict:
GOOD
Outriders: Worldslayer continues the base game’s trends in every single way possible. Its story is bad, the antagonist is boring, and the zones feel wasted, but none of that matters because Outriders: Worldslayer still has some of the most interesting gameplay systems of any loot game. And most importantly, it’s still a lot of fun.
A copy of this game was provided by Developer/Publisher/Distributor/PR Agency for review purposes. Click here to know more about our Reviews Policy.

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